30 May 2012

Wednesday stuff and items

1)  The Queen has a dog called Gryffindor!

2)  We have just taken possession of some very exciting advances.

3) And we have died and gone to heaven, or, to put it anther way, our Faber colleague Jarvis Cocker reads Oliver Jeffers.* 

*There is an unconfirmed report that in the late nineties one Onion handmade a T-shirt that said JARVIS across the... well ... the chest area, in large fuzzy letters. But she didn't wear it to the Pulp concert at Festival Hall, because that would have been deeply uncool. If Mr Cocker ever visits our offices as part of being generally AT LARGE, we will scrub this footnote, pretend it never happened and lounge in doorways trying to look sophisticated and largely uninterested.

29 May 2012

Home and Away - Awards Ahoy!

Thrilled we are to see two of our favourite books on the   
Young Adult Fiction shortlist for the 
2012 Prime Minister's Literary Awards


Judges' comments:
Condon writes about teenagers with great empathy. His first-person narrator Tiff is at a crossroads, burning to pursue her dream of becoming a journalist but slow to realise that her greatest story lies in her unconventional family. Skilfully drawn characters, ranging from her adopted grandfather to a gruff reporter colleague, help the reader to become aware that words sometimes conceal more than they reveal.

Judges' comments:
This is a profoundly beautiful story, a memoir of youth retold in old age to a schoolgirl, forging a link between generations. A booklover's tale, it recalls a girl who escaped from the isolation of country life and family tragedy through both the written page and an unusual friendship with a boy stranger. Jonsberg unravels her memories to give us a compelling affirmation of enduring love.
Let there be boisterous cheering all across the land!
And many congratulations to all the authors on the shortlist

And news just in from the other side of the world!

Delighted we are to see another of our favourite books on TWO winners lists in the CBI Book of the Year Awards which are the leading annual children's book awards in Ireland. DELIGHTED!


Judges' Comments:
Following the lives of two fifteen-year-old twins, this imaginative and empathetic supernatural thriller coalesces past and present to explore the complexities of fraternal love and the pain of loss.
Celine is the first author to win both the CBI Book of the Year Award AND the Children's Choice Award.

Let there be boisterous cheering all across the oceans!

* It's the same book, just wearing different clothes. Perhaps we should start referring to it as Taken Away Into the Grey?

22 May 2012

Sword Girls

Who is watching Game of Thrones season 2? 
Thought so.

And who among you think that Arya Stark should get more screen-time because she is clearly the best - the bravest, the smartest, the true-est, the most interesting? 
Thought so.

With that in mind, here is reading list for Arya fans:

by Frances Watts, illustrated by Gregory Rogers


'The squires, who were boys training to be knights, copied Sir Benedict's moves with their wooden practice swords. So did Tommy with the small paring knife she was meant to be using on the potatoes.'
Tommy might be just a kitchen girl, but she is brave and fair-minded and loves swords. And what's more she has a talking cat on her side, so you know things are going to get interesting. But when Sir Walter's special sword is stolen, Tommy, the new Keeper of the Swords, is in serious trouble...

Tommy is a feisty, brilliant heroine, and the Sword Girl books, by the completely lovely Frances Watts, are fabulous read-alone or read-aloud books for anyone who likes swordplay and derring-do and girls being brave and ingenious. (Which is clearly everyone, right? Thought so.) And Greg Rogers's illustrations are totally charming. Best of all, when you've finished Book 1, you can move straight on to Book 2: The Poison Plot.*  We're sure these books would have been huge favourites in the Winterfell library, for Bran (and that other younger brother you never see) as well as Arya.

We think Goldie and Arya would get on like a house on fire. At the very least, they could probably both escape unscathed from a house on fire. Goldie certainly knows how to use the threat of fire to her advantage... She also knows what it's like to cut off your hair and pretend to be a boy, and to escape from a cruel dictator. But for Goldie, the sword she wields is bit of a mixed blessing...

Hermione is obviously incredibly brave, smart and loyal, but we're going to give honorary sword-girl status to Neville Longbottom, because he overcame a lot of obstacles, including under-confidence and body-image issues, to become a brave and trusty warrior who knew how and when to wield his sword for maximum effect.

With a Sword in My Hand by Jean-Claude van Rijckeghem & Pat van Beirs, translated by John Nieuwenhuizen
Marguerite's father is desperate for a son. Instead he's stuck with a feisty, stubborn, red-headed daughter who refuses to behave like a lady. Aw yeah. Marguerite fights (and kisses) the boys, she rides like a hellion and, like Arya, she has a fencing maestro to whip her sword skills into shape.

This is an intense and unusual book based on the real life of Marguerite van Male. The Medieval court comes to smelly, loud, beautiful life and Marguerite is an unforgettable heroine. 

Cool and rational, rather than fiery and impetuous, Sabriel might drive Arya crazy. But Arya would have to respect her bravery in the face of Death, her sense of duty and honour, and the fact that Sabriel's sword is not even her most powerful weapon...   Not to mention the fact that Mogget, in the right mood, would be more than a match for a direwolf.


And now, may we suggest you watch the Game of Thrones theme song as sung by the actors who play Arya, Sansa and Bran. 

* Pssst. Sekret news. There are two more Sword Girl books coming in September when Tommy will be starring in Tournament Trouble and The Siege Scare. Everyone pleased? Thought so.

16 May 2012

Aurealis Awards - Spotted in the House

On Saturday night at a sparkling Sydney event, the winners of the 2011 Aurealis Awards were announced. And we are delighted to reveal that today's courier package contained two fabulously shiny items. LOOK! Aurealis Awards in the wild!*

And lo, there was much rejoicing in the House.

(told primarily through words)
City of Lies by Lian Tanner

Only Ever Always by Penni Russon

Like Lian, [insert loud cries of joy].  
As per Penni, colour us chuffed.

Susan Wardle, co-convenor of the awards, said 
'The winners represent the best of Australian fantasy, horror and science fiction writing in 2011 as judged by a panel of their peers.  This year's winners join the likes of Sara Douglass, Garth Nix, Isobelle Carmody, Trudi Canavan, Shaun Tan and Sean Williams, all of whom are multiple Aurealis Award winners.'
One hundred HURRAHS for Penni! 
One hundred HURRAHS  for Lian!

And if you slip on over to Adventures of a Bookonaut, Sean's wonderful summary of how the evening unfolded may have you thinking you were actually there.

* Well, when we say 'in the wild' here, we may actually mean 'on the filing cabinet.'


09 May 2012

Maurice Sendak

 You wrote for the frightened child in us all...


04 May 2012

Friday Stuff and Items

Just when you thought it was safe to venture out in daylight and not be accosted by a [pasty or sparkling] vampire - along come Justine Larbalestier & Sarah Rees Brennan who give their vampire a hazmat suit - so he can go to school...with the humans...

Dear readers, we admit have been keeping secrets from you, but now we are ready to come clean.Team Human is almost a real actual book! And it's not just any book. As Cory Doctorow says:
'This is the vampire-human supernatural romance you want the world to fall in love with.'
And the good people at Kirkus Reviews are also much enamoured:
'Laugh-out-loud funny, heart-wrenchingly sad and fist-pump-in-the-air triumphant, this sparkling gem proves that vampires, zombies and even teenagers . at heart, we're all on Team Human.' 
Psst! Here's a sneak peek at the first chapter. And a glimpse behind the curtain at the photo shoot for the cover! And [cue trumpets] FAN ART! Genius. 

Remember how excited we were that the advances of Brigid Kemmerer's Storm landed in the House. Well, imagine how excited we are that it's now a book, out in the world, for people to drool over read! RIDICULOUSLY EXCITED!

And LOOK! LOOOOOOK! Brigid has a super-exclusive contest on her blog. Get to it, people. 

Is everyone paying attention? We have a very important public service announcement. Mother's Day is not in fact THIS Sunday. It is indeed NEXT Sunday. This was news to us. We concede we were not entirely across this, so we thought we should give you the heads up. Mother's Day is the second Sunday in May. Yep. Second Sunday. Not First. Don't do the mixing up or your mum will be displeased. She might end up with two Mother's Days. And while this might sound like  GOOD THING, we draw your attention to the The Night Before Mother's Day.

Herewith, this hilarious little book by the incredibly clever collaborators, Doug MacLeod  & Judy Horacek, read in full by the wonderful Tracy Harvey.

End public service announcement.